New Japan Pro Wrestling
Destruction in Beppu
September 17, 2018
Beppu B-Con Plaza

Watch: NJPW World

Meet our previewers

  • Joe Lanza: Hello. My name is Joe.
  • Jack Beckmann: I am currently writing this bio while not paying attention in a math class. After all kids, wrestling is way cooler than school. For more hot takes like that, follow on Twitter @packerman120. Go Brewers.
  • John Carroll: I just did a new Omakase episode where we rated every year of the WWF/E from 1996 through 2006. No, really, we did that. In barely over 2 hours too. Crazy right? Anyway, follow me on Twitter @toshanshuinla and don’t forget about my SAILOR MOON PODCAST @moonmakeupcast!

TenKoji & Yota Tsuji vs. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Yuya Uemura

Joe: Satoshi Kojima returns to work his first major show since returning from knee surgery, and Uemura is going to taste his first Western Lariat. Prediction: TenKoji & Tsuji

Jack: I really missed Satoshi Kojima in this year’s G1, so I’m ecstatic to see him back here. This won’t be anything special, but it will be fun to see Kojima wrestle after a long absence. Bread club for life. Prediction: TenKoji & Yota Tsuji

John: Everybody else talked about Satoshi Kojima already so I’m gonna make a little note about Yota Tsuji, who despite being a young lion has already gone through one hell of a glow-up. It shouldn’t be surprising news to anyone who follows this era of New Japan that idol good looks are a huge part of the equation (and there’s nothing wrong with that, by the way!), so I would dare say that young Yota is already ahead of the pack here. When you add that to his natural heavyweight size, this is one hell of a prospect. Hopefully he can wrestle too! Prediction: TenKoji & Yota Tsuji

David Finlay & Ren Narita vs. Toa Henare & Shota Umino

Joe: Finlay is slightly higher on the totem pole than Henare, so he’ll pin Umino. This is a sleeper match that could be the best of the prelims if the working shoes are on, which considering who is involved, they likely will be. Prediction: Finlay & Narita

Jack: All involved in this match are great, and it’s always enjoyable to see a match of all young lions going at it. Shota Umino has star written all over him, and I’m very excited to see how his career pans out. Look for these four to impress and get the show going on a good note. Prediction: Finlay & Narita

John: The fact that Jack just called this “a match of all young lions going at it” is a pretty sick burn on Finlay & Henare, neither of whom is technically considered a young lion anymore (and hasn’t been considered one in quite a while now in Finlay’s case) but also never got an excursion and have never shown any real capacity to beat anyone BUT young lions. Anyway! This match could be fun. Prediction: David Finlay & Ren Narita

Takashi Iizuka vs. Ayato Yoshida

Joe: This won’t be a sportsmanlike singles contest against the likes of Nagata or Umino that Yoshida is accustomed to on Lion’s Gate shows. At this stage of his New Japan career, a win over Iizuka would be a massive upset, but it’s not entirely out of the question. If Yoshida were to win, a DQ win is probably more likely than a fall, but realistically Iizuka is winning this. Prediction: Iizuka

Jack: For the last two matches, I’ve expressed some modicum of interest in seeing it happen. I cannot do the same here. Ayato Yoshida is good, but Iizuka absolutely stinks, and frankly I can’t believe he’s still around in modern New Japan. The man’s main shtick is comedy, yet half the roster (including those who are serious wrestlers!) are better at it than him. Hopefully they keep this short and sweet, as anything longer than five minutes would be too long for an Iizuka singles match in 2018. Prediction: Takashi Iizuka

John: Look, Takashi Iizuka pulled a knife on Jun Kasai during their crazy match on TAKA’s produce show at the start of the year, and that earned him a pass from me for quite a while. I don’t mind him at all in his role as crazy grandpa. This will probably be like eight minutes long so really who cares? With everyone else going with Iizuka I’ll head out on an island and give Yoshida the DQ win. Prediction: Ayato Yoshida

KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV vs. CHAOS (Will Ospreay, Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero)

Joe: Kota Ibushi isn’t working the Beppu show, so none of the Ospreay/Ibushi interactions that have dotted the tour will happen here. It really doesn’t make a difference who wins this. Romero likely loses unless they’re pushing forward with an Ospreay/Ibushi singles match later this fall. If that’s the case, they may want to get Will some visible falls, and this would be a good spot for that. Prediction: A coin flip match. I’ll go with CHAOS.

Jack: You can take what I wrote about the opening match on the Hiroshima show and apply it here, with the added exception of adding Ryusuke Taguchi & Will Ospreay to the match. Ospreay & KUSHIDA may be headed for a singles match for the Jr. title, depending on how the tournament plays out, so hopefully they get some time to interact. This should be fine. Prediction: CHAOS

John: I’m a little higher on this than my two co-previewers seem to be, as I like pretty much everyone in the match and don’t see why it can’t be a fun little junior eight-man. Weirdly we don’t get “pure junior” multi-man tags with no heavyweight involvement at all like this very often in modern New Japan anymore, so I’ll take one when I can get it here. Really the winner could go either way like they said, but at the end of the day I think Romero is slightly more likely to eat a pin than Liger or Tiger. Prediction: KUSHIDA, Taguchi, Liger & Tiger

Killer Elite Squad vs. Best Friends

Joe: Because it can go either way, this is one of the more intriguing matches on the tour. It’s a 50/50 match, and because it’s two regular teams on a high profile show, it could also be the springboard for the next title challenger. Prediction: KES

Jack: Like Joe said, this match can be used as a springboard to establish the next title challenger. NJPW is higher on KES than I am, and I’d guess that we’ll be seeing KES vs. whoever wins the title match at Fighting Spirit Unleashed very soon. I’d also like to observe the role of Trent in this match. I personally believe Trent has a load of talent, talent that should be used in a singles capacity. I love Chuckie T as much as the next guy, but I’d like to see Trent have more singles chances instead of a potential tag team run with Chuck. Prediction: KES

John: I will strongly disagree with Jack and say that a heavyweight tag run is exactly the sort of position Beretta could thrive in right now. He’s just coming back from injury (and, if Korakuen is any indication, isn’t particularly over) and a run teaming up with Chuckie T challenging for the tag titles and maybe even winning them isn’t a bad idea to get him reestablished in the company. You know they’ll probably be a team in the World Tag League anyway so why not run with it for a few months at least? On that note I’m gonna pick them for an (upset?) win here. I think Guerrillas of Destiny are probably winning the belts from the Bucks in a few weeks in Long Beach, so a Best Friends challenge makes more sense than a KES one. I like KES, but both teams are kinda supposed to be uber-heels at the moment and also they fought each other like a million times during the 3-way feud last year. If the Bucks manage to retain at Long Beach, though, obviously a KES challenge for them would make a lot more sense. Prediction: Best Friends

Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI) vs. Suzukigun (Zack Sabre Jr, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)

Joe: The big bosses are in the main event, and this is another match that can go either way. When it comes to New Japan, when in doubt find the low man and pick against him. I think BUSHI will eat a fall. Prediction: SZG

Jack: All of the intrigue that the LiJ/Suzuki-gun tag in Hiroshima had is removed by taking out Naito & Suzuki, as they are the main event. Nothing of consequence will come from this. Juniors take falls, and Kanemaru & Despy are champions, so BUSHI takes the fall here. Prediction: SZG

John: I like pretty much everyone in this match with the possible exception of Kanemaru (although even he has annoyed me a lot less this year when he’s been teaming with Desperado at least), so once again I guess I’m the high one of the three of us, which is weird. I think this will probably be a good, solid six-man tag with some hotter action than you might expect. I’m gonna disagree with the two of them on the winners as well; while Despy & Kanemaru may be the junior tag champions, they don’t even have a defense scheduled on the tour, while BUSHI will be five days away from a big match with KUSHIDA in the junior title tournament. So ultimately I think either Desperado or Kanemaru is eating an STO from EVIL or tapping to Skull End. Prediction: LIJ

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Jay White, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI)

Joe: The winning side is irrelevant. All that matters here are the interactions between Tanahashi, Okada, and White, as they jostle for the Wrestle Kingdom briefcase. Prediction:

Jack: The crash course towards 9/23 continues for Tanahashi & Okada, with probable KoPW challenger Jay White waiting in the wings. I feel like there is more intrigue around who makes it to Wrestle Kingdom with the case than many years prior, which is a pleasant change. The result is 50/50, so I’ll take whatever team has the hottest member to win. Tanahashi is bangin’, so I’ll go with his team. Prediction: Team Tanahashi

John: Yeah, this is a big solid meh of a match, with the only real intrigue coming from any further Okada/White dissension that might carry over from Hiroshima. It’s the last stop before Okada-Tanahashi, but I don’t expect them to have a ton of interaction here. Prediction: Tanahashi & Juice & Makabe & Honma

NEVER Openweight Championship
Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Taichi

Joe: From a match quality standpoint, i’d much rather see another Goto vs Mike Elgin bout, but I have no problem with Taichi being in the mix and getting big singles match opportunities. I’m rooting for Goto. I could see a Taichi win, but his style of match is not the direction i’d prefer to see this title go. Prediction: Hirooki Goto

Jack: For me, this is a match between two wrestlers who are very hit or miss for me. I can’t bring myself to be too passionate about this match, but nevertheless, I expect it to deliver. This is the highest profile singles match Taichi has had since his move to heavyweight, so I hope we get more “Dangerous T” Taichi than I’m going to stick a mic stand up your ass Taichi. The result of this one could go either way, but I’d bet on Goto retaining. It might be soon for Taichi to hold a title, and NJPW might want to establish him more before he holds their midcard ace title. Prediction: Hirooki Goto

John: As THE LEADER OF TAICHI TWITTER I’m obviously pulling for my boy here, but sadly I can’t see “The Sickening” Taichi quite pulling it off. This feels like a match where he gets close (probably with some serious cheating help) and there’s some strong teases that the crowd even bites on, but ultimately doesn’t quite pull it off. I like Goto though and I think he’s quietly having an awesome year (as usual for him), so I feel pretty confident they can deliver a great match here. Goto does always lay his egg in a big spot every once in a while so you can’t discount that possibility, but the build has been quite good and it feels like they’ll be coming into this match with some legit hatred, which always helps. Prediction: Hirooki Goto

Tetsuya Naito vs. Minoru Suzuki

Joe: The last time these guys wrestled it wasn’t very good, and I don’t care who wins, so i’m coming in totally apathetic towards this. This reeks of something thrown together to fill a building on a split big show tour, and I think it will. I also think they’ll have a better match than the last time around, but I just don’t see the storyline purpose of this unless the idea is to build some momentum up for Naito after a bunch of big losses in the G1. I’m just having a hard time mustering any enthusiasm for it. I think (and hope) Naito wins, because I don’t want to see a third match. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito

Jack: This match makes no sense. Why is this even happening? In their mediocre April match, Naito pinned Suzuki, took his title, and that was that. Naito doesn’t have the title anymore, as it’s currently on excursion with the fat rocker, so why does Suzuki want to get back at him. This is pure filler, a main event between two guys who are draws in order to sell tickets to a C-show. A match that would have made much more sense is Naito vs. Sabre Jr., as Naito has legitimate beef with Sabre for taking away his chance to win the G1. Hopefully that match is still in the pipeline (KoPW, perhaps?), and we can get to it when this is over. I have no excitement for this whatsoever, so hopefully Naito wins. Easily my least anticipated main event of the three Destruction shows. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito

John: Naito and Suzuki are basically fighting for the Phantom Intercontinental Title, as others have pointed out already. It’s like Naito never lost the belt to Jericho and Suzuki is getting his rematch many months later, but since Naito did lose the belt to Y2J this feels utterly and completely pointless. Naito doesn’t care about the match at all (not that he ever really cares about anything to be fair) and the post-match promos from Suzuki haven’t been enough to make it feel like there’s a point to this happening. It’s the worst kind of Gedo filler for Naito, as he spins his wheels to make up for the fact that he should be well above this level by now. Who could possibly care about him fighting a guy he already vanquished easily (and as the others have said, in a disappointing match to boot)? I guess he’ll probably win this, although Naito losing a big match in New Japan in 2018 can never be discounted anyway, since he does that constantly. But when we’re talking about a Tetsuya Naito singles match main event and even I, one of the bigger Naito stans you’ll probably ever meet, can’t muster any enthusiasm for it, you know there’s big problems with his booking. There’s at least better motivation for Naito to fight his two most likely next opponents, Zack Sabre Jr. (probably at Power Struggle, and don’t be surprised if there’s a post-match angle here to set it up since Zack will be in the building) & Chris Jericho (probably at the Dome), but I’d be lying to you if I told you I’m all that excited for either one of those, either. It’s a joke that he’s not in the IWGP title scene, and I’ll keep pounding that drum until he’s finally where he belongs. Prediction: Tetsuya Naito